Wayne Middaugh wins National to complete career Grand Slam

November 6, 2005, 8:00 PM

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — Toronto’s Wayne Middaugh continued to roll on tour upending Pat Simmons of Moose Jaw, Sask., 8-6 to capture the National Grand Slam of Curling title Sunday.

Middaugh, who won his third championship in for World Curling Tour events, became just the second skip to complete a career Grand Slam after Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and collected $28,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

“I feel pretty fortunate,” Middaugh said in a World Curling Tour release. “My team came into this year just trying to feel each other out. Now there’s a real feeling that we’re ready.

“We had no expectations to do this well this early in the year.”

Middaugh leaped out to a 3-0 lead after opening with a single and stealing two when Simmons missed on a runback attempt.

Simmons rallied back with a deuce and a steal of one to tie it 3-3. Middaugh regained the lead with a deuce of his own and held on to the end.

Team Middaugh underwent changes down the middle in the off-season following a disappointing year finishing 6-5 at Brier, missing the playoffs, and failing to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Third Graeme McCarrel and second Joe Frans were dropped in favour of Peter Corner, Middaugh’s cousin, and Phil Loevenmark. Scott Bailey, who also finished a career Grand Slam, remained at lead.

“Hey, I’m still going [to the Trials],” Middaugh said. “I’m fifth man for Glenn [Howard] and I’m looking forward to helping them out any way I can.”

Coincidentally, Middaugh topped Howard 9-8 in the semifinals. Simmons slid past reigning world champion Randy Ferbey in the other final four match.

Simmons is backed by third Jeff Sharp, second Ben Hebert and lead Steve Laycock. Hebert moved up from lead to fill in for second Chris Haichert with Laycock coming off the bench. It was the second Grand Slam of Curling final appearance for Simmons, who finished runner-up to Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton in last season’s Masters.

“Gotta take the positives from it,” said Simmons, who earned $16,000. “We had a good week and yeah, we still did have a chance at the end of this game. Coming short last year we would have liked to win this one, but it’s a good week nonetheless.”

Ferbey, of Edmonton, and Howard, of Coldwater, Ont., claimed $12,000 each.

NOTES: The National is the first of four Grand Slam of Curling events and featured eight ends rather than the traditional 10 ends played at events like the Brier, world championship, and upcoming Winter Olympics. … The second stop is the Masters running Jan. 5-8, 2006, at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre. … The Olympic Trials take place Dec. 3-11 in Halifax.